Daily Archives: May 6, 2018

“It’s a trade-off for our marketing partners.”

I am truly amazed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was able to pull this off.

From last season to this one, based in large part on the data we gathered, we changed the format of our game. We went from a possible 18 time-outs to 14 time-outs, we standardized the length of the time-outs, and we shortened halftime by a few minutes. And we made additional changes to the commercial format, because we were able to see exactly where we were losing fans.

S+B: Where were you losing them?

SILVER: Not surprisingly, we lose the highest number of fans when we move off live action, especially at halftime. And we lose fans at every commercial break. So we’re experimenting, with Turner and ESPN, with not leaving the arena completely during commercial breaks, and instead having a split screen, where we stay with the huddle at the same time we show an ad.

That’s right, he was able to convince the networks to shear off some commercial breaks.  How?

… On the one hand, they’d like the full attention of a viewer. On the other hand, they might prefer to keep all of the viewers and find ways to create connections with their products and engage directly with the game.

Our games are roughly two hours and 15 minutes, but the average viewer is watching for approximately 50 minutes. We know that the most efficient way to increase our ratings is not to find someone who isn’t watching at all, but to take those people who are watching an average of 50 minutes and get them to watch 55 minutes. And that’s where changes in the presentations — finding other ways to engage fans, creating other data fields for our viewers, or using different audio experiences like player mics, or different camera angles — can help increase our ratings.

He had a persuasive argument and sufficient clout to sell this.  Again, color me amazed.

And, yeah, I get Jason Kirk’s point that every sport could learn a little something here, but can you think of a single person running a conference or the NCAA who has both the sense and the confidence to walk into CBS, Fox or ESPN and sell something like it?  Sadly, I can’t… at least not without laughing first.

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Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

“It’s going to take some time.”

Um… not sure I know where this is going.

Leaders will once again decide how Georgia plays football, but Smart said the Bulldogs are “not even close” to finding new sources of leadership. Jonathan Ledbetter, one of the people who Smart said is trying to step up as a leader, believes adversity will be the only way for this year’s team to find itself.

“You can try to recreate things and do a bunch of different things to create chemistry, but the only way to create a real team is to go through adversity,” said Ledbetter, a senior defensive end.

No, he doesn’t mean adversity in the sense of going to Columbia and losing to an inferior South Carolina team — been there, done that — but in the sense that this is a team that hasn’t pushed itself enough mentally and emotionally this spring.

That adversity will first come in the form of practice and training while the Bulldogs incorporate the rest of a recruiting class ranked No. 1 in the country into the fabric of the team over the summer. The adversity will increase as the players pant and push the limits of their bodies during preseason practice. In those spaces, the Bulldogs will try to re-establish the speed and physicality that defined last year’s team.

“It will only happen if you make it happen and you earn it,” Smart said. “Right now, we’re not where we need to be. The good news is we don’t have to be. We just got to be making progress.”

I like how Ledbetter puts things in terms of creating a mindset.  If you’re that overly conscious of searching for an identity, it almost smacks of fake juice.  Anything that comes of it is bound to be artificial at best and unlikely to lead to sustained excellence.

Fortunately, I do believe Smart knows the best way to bring adversity in the sense of forging a real team mentality that will serve to carry through to another great season, and that’s competition.  There’s going to be a real temptation for some of this team to rest on the laurels of a remarkable 2017-8 season, or to reach for some unnatural re-creation of the mindset that took them to a national title game.  Kirby’s challenge is to get them all beyond that.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Are recruits from the South overrated?

Interesting piece from Ian Boyd you might want to check out here.  I’m not sure, but it may be more accurate to say Southern recruits are overexposed, compared to their peers in other parts of the country more than overrated.  Why so?  Well, some of that’s commercial…

The recruiting services are incentivized to invest more time and scouting into the south

There are a solid number of reasons why this would be the case. The first is that the south, Texas, and Florida legitimately produce a higher number of players per capita than do the Midwestern states so it makes sense to allocate most of your focus on those regions.

Another is that interest is higher there and it’s easier to sell #content on the top players to SEC fans then to try and figure out which Pennsylvania kids might be better than anyone currently guesses.

But even beyond that, if you’re spending most of your time scouting the well known blue-chippers in Georgia then you’re going to be more aware of different gems that show up and explode onto the scene from other parts of Georgia than you’ll be of players from less heavily scouted areas.

… and some of that is more resources, better utilized.

There are more opportunities to scout and evaluate kids in the South

Nike currently has eight SPARQ events scheduled for 2018. They’ll be taking place in:

-Miami, FL

-Dallas, TX

-Houston, TX

-San Francisco, CA

-Los Angeles, CA

-Atlanta, GA

-New York/New Jersey (the Jets facility)

-Canton, OH

That’s where you can get laser timed 40s and the rest of the Nike tests done rather than relying on hand times or trying to look up track records, it gives players a chance to do drills against the other best athletes in a region, and it creates hype and evaluation opportunities for recruiting writers.

The South also has more 7on7 camps and other events because football is more of an intense, year-round sport in that region than in the cold of the Northeast, Midwest, or greater western US.

With all of the extra hype, attention, and overall product coming out of those hotspots there’s little doubt as to why they’d tend to get overrated in terms of how many NFL players they are actually producing.

The south also tends to coach up talent more than in the north. Coaches love snatching up kids from Texas because they’ve been well coached and proven their stuff against real competition with real stakes, but that also means that some of the players from Texas are much closer to their ceilings than a kid from a less intense football culture like the Michigan high schools. When you compare them side to side it appears that the Texas kid is much better but that gap can shrink or disappear after three years or so of college coaching.

With regard to that last point, the most interesting part of Boyd’s piece is one Urban Meyer, who appears to have shifted his recruiting approach from developing those three-star kids into chasing top-tier talent in highly competitive locals like Florida and Texas.

As far as Boyd’s “The better players out in nowhere Wisconsin or up in Bismarck are often as good or better than the players in Atlanta or Houston…” point goes, I’d argue Kirby may have the best of both worlds going for him in that regard, as Georgia’s got a little bit of both nowhere and big city.

 

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Filed under Recruiting

Just another day in court, NCAA edition

I don’t litigate.  I’ve never wanted to litigate.  One reason for that is I’ve never wanted to have a witness on the stand make me look like an idiot in open court.

It’s even worse when the witness is the plaintiff whose credibility I’ve made it my professional mission to destroy.

As expected, Stojilkovic spent a bulk of his cross-examination shining a light on the effort McNair made to get another job in coaching. McNair testified he reached out to only a few NFL teams and college programs, while opting to rely on the network of friends he has in the coaching industry.

In order to show there were other friends McNair could have reached out to, Stojilkovic displayed a list of several names McNair mentioned during his testimony the previous day. The attempt backfired, as McNair went down the list, one by one, with simple explanations for why the people Stojilkovic insisted could have helped him really could not.

“Retired … retired … deceased … retired … he’s still playing … he’s just a parent,” McNair said.

Stojilkovic also insisted that McNair should have been suspicious when Bush started driving a late 1990s-model Chevrolet Impala, which later was determined to have been provided by Lake.

“If he pulled up in a Mercedes, I would have said something,” McNair said. “That Impala was trash.”

Yeah, that seems to have gone well.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

They could’a been a contenduh.

You know what’s weird?  Less than a decade removed from the arrogance of the Spurrier/Meyer era, hearing the Florida folks play the “hey, it could happen!” card.

“Dan Mullen absolutely can make Florida an SEC East contender again. And he can do it this year. The schedule shakes up very favorably and Mullen has already made big strides in restoring the program back to where it was when it was at the top, most notably with the strength program. He brought in new strength coach Nick Savage, who has already changed players’ bodies.

“Mullen’s biggest selling point in the spring was making Florida fun and exciting again and getting back to that ‘Gator standard.’ He caters his offense around his quarterbacks which will help whoever takes the reigns whether it’s Kyle Trask or Feleipe Franks.

“He has work to do on the recruiting trail, but he brought in good classes while in Starkville, and Florida is not Mississippi State.

“His new defensive scheme fits the players Florida has and new DC Todd Grantham should have a great unit. Finishing 4-7 seems like it is a ways away from getting back to competing for East titles and getting to Atlanta, but this wasn’t a 4-7 roster. A new coach who ‘gets it,’ and brings in a fresh energy along with a great strength coach and QB-friendly system, Florida can absolutely contend for an SEC East crown.”

I could get used to this.  Thanks, Kirby.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...